Q. Why is this in News?
A. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, with coronary heart disease being a major concern among researchers.
Q. What is Coronary Heart Disease?
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition in which the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood become narrow due to the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) inside the arteries.
- Over time, these deposits can harden and narrow the arteries, reducing the flow of blood to the heart.
- Unhealthy lifestyles, poor diets, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and harmful levels of alcohol consumption are the major contributors to coronary heart disease.
- Damaged heart tissue cannot be regrown in humans, and the only option is to undergo heart transplant, which comes with its own complications.
- Recent Studies:
- A group of scientists has come up with a solution where healthy skin cells from an adult can be converted into heart cells using special proteins.
- Converting cells from one form to another, known as cellular reprogramming, involves specific proteins called transcription factors, which alter the expression of genes within a cell and direct it to take on a new cellular identity.
- The researchers established a recombinant protein toolbox consisting of six potential cardiac transcription factors: GATA4, MEF2C, TBX5, ETS2, MESP1, and HAND2.
- Each of these proteins plays a significant role in reprogramming fibroblasts.
- The advantage of using recombinant proteins is that they work their miracle inside the nucleus and eventually disappear over time without leaving behind their toxic waste, unlike their generic counterparts.
Q. What are the Initiatives to Promote Awareness About Cardiovascular Diseases?
- National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS)
- ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Project
- World Heart Day (29th September)
Q. What is the Conclusion?
A. This study offers a safer approach for direct cardiac reprogramming using recombinant proteins, which can then be used to reprogram cardiac fibroblasts and provides hope for those suffering from heart disease and the possibility of developing a personalised treatment option that is both safe and efficient.